March 23, 2010 Subject:
Available light bright enough for Flash Casey
Some background -- author George Harmon Coxe created 'Flash' Casey as a pulp crime magazine series in the 1930s, but the character kept going. As a hit radio show for more than a decade as "Flashgun Casey," "Casey, Crime Photographer" and "Crime Photographer," and on into TV, briefly. See the archive.org radio collection and Wikipedia. On TV in the early '50s, Darren McGavin played Casey.
Irony: Despite the "Flash" nickname, in this movie Casey does most of his work without a flash -- including a then high-tech (now vintage) Leica II or III 35mm rangefinder camera. Back then most press photographers used large-format Speed Graphics.
Interesting subplot: Competition between a photo-magazine editor and newspaper editor working for the same publisher, who considers the pictorial mag an experiment. The editor predicts that his "Snap News" idea will "sweep the country." (He was right; this was just a year or so after the launch of "Life" magazine.)
As for the movie, a few seconds seem missing in the unnecessary opening "Mu Mu Mu fraternity" college sequence -- a waste of five minutes, three studio scenes, seven or eight cast members, and some stock footage of college graduations, all to establish that Casey worked his way through college taking pictures and is headed off to the city for a real newspaper job.
When the actual story gets going, the dialogue is not as rapid-fire as "His Girl Friday" or "The Front Page," but there are some good lines, and a good old-time crusty-editor.
Editor, sending an older photographer off to cover a fresh murder scene: "Don't wait for the funeral."
Photographer: "OK, chief. I'm saving myself so I can enjoy yours."
Father about son's French dancer girlfriend: "I don't want to discuss the matter."
Son: "She's not a 'matter,' she's an 'event.'"
February 15, 2010 Subject:
Paparazzi were a scourge even in 1938.
They wouldn't have gotten into all of that trouble had they just been minding their own business.